Media Director of the Year and Next Media Star

Karine Courtemanche takes the Media Director of the Year honour, while Jacquie Albrecht is named Next Media Star.

Media Director of the Year: Karine Courtemanche, President, Touché! PHD

Karine Courtemanche is the kind of leader people change jobs to work for. That’s the story told by Tammy Gardner, who joined the team at Touché! this summer as a group account director in large part for the chance to work with the president.

Praise like that is icing on the cake of the year Courtemanche has had, picking up a major new account, a second office in a different city and a Cannes Media Lion. And that’s just the Coles Notes version.

Courtemanche was named president of Touché! in Montreal in 2010, working as the agency’s VP for seven years prior. This year, her role expanded to include the agency’s new Toronto office where she now spends a couple of days a week. The office launched when the Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) announced it was consolidating its media business under the Omnicom Media Group and appointed Touché! as the lead agency for the account in June. The announcement expanded the remit for the agency, which had already been working on its FGL Sports and Mark’s divisions in Montreal. The new Toronto office, which opened its doors in August, currently has a staff of about 10, with plans to grow to 15 as more clients are transferred to the branch.

Meanwhile, Courtemanche has been playing a large role on CTC projects, such as the “Your Better Starts Here” campaign from Sport Chek that took a Bronze Media Lion at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in June. The project targeted 500 OOH locations that marked the place where a quest for a new self began (see p. 47). She was also personally involved in brokering the deal for the corporation to partner with the Canadian Olympic Team, along with six other amateur sport partnerships earlier this year.

Building a unique culture at Touché!’s two offices is a big focus for Courtemanche. That includes making the offices places where employees can think creatively, which comes from having worked in the Montreal office of Sid Lee as part of an alliance with the shop.

That creativity starts at the actual bricks and mortar level for the agency’s office in Montreal, which recently expanded and made its brainstorm room (which has clear glass walls) the focal point of the space.

She builds on that feeling through initiatives like the “Light Team,” a group within the agency that creates regular activities to stimulate creativity among all employees at the shop. The group also creates workshops where employees can learn firsthand about new technologies and curates content for an area of the office called the “Light Wall,” a water-cooler board for staff who are looking for fresh ideas and inspiration.

“We always talk about innovation being driven by tools and data, but at the end of the day, if you want people to be searching for new ways of doing things, you have to be creating a culture that allows them to do that,” she says.

JacquieAlbrecht2013Headshots-8Next Media Star: Jacquie Albrecht

Vancouver-based Albrecht was named Next Media Star for work she did during her time as a digital specialist at Jungle Media earlier this year. The West Coast resident has since changed jobs, becoming an account manager at Noise Digital in July following nearly two years with the media agency.

She was chosen by strategy‘s Media Agency of the Year judging panel for work she did for the BC Honda Dealers Association promoting the 2013 Honda Accord. Creative in the campaign made ads on sites from Postmedia and The Weather Network look like an ordinary big-box or leaderboard ad until users clicked on it and saw the car ad fill the screen. A large part of what made the campaign unique was that coding for the ads was integrated into the backend of the sites, something that typically doesn’t happen.